Picture this: you’re at your desk writing an assignment, tapping away at your new keyboard, clicking on your comfortable new mouse and listening to music with the latest noise-cancelling headphones. It’s the perfect home office, and you’ve never felt so motivated to get the work done. With the help of T3’s Back to Class month that will soon be you.
While office accessories aren’t the be-all and end-all, if you have the right kit in front of you, ticking off your to-do list will inevitably feel a lot quicker and easier. One of the best laptops will help you get your feet off the ground, but for desk work a bigger screen will be a lot better.
By hooking your PC up to a separate display, you’ll be doing a huge favour for your eyes, your neck and your focus. But all monitors are not made equal, there are certain specs and features you should look out for on your hunt which will take your work-from-home setup to a whole new level.
Must-have features to look for in a monitor
1. 4K resolution
It goes without saying that buying a new monitor will make a huge difference to how you see your content, especially if you go for a much bigger screen than you’re used to. To get the very best experience possible it makes sense to look out for a higher-resolution display.
The best 4K monitors will be able to display imagery, colours and wording better than a standard Full HD screen, they will jump out at you with crystal clear detail and top-tier accuracy that you just wouldn’t find on most laptop screens.
If you’re a gamer then you’ll be the first to notice the difference, especially if you were to buy one of the best gaming monitors, but anyone who edits photos, streams TV shows, or does a lot of online shopping will reap the rewards of 4K resolution.
2. Plenty of USB-C ports
Most new devices come with USB-C charging and connectivity, so you'll want to make sure that your monitor is able to keep up by having plenty of USB-C ports, or that it comes with a USB-C Hub to expand what it has to offer.
A lot of office spaces have one significant problem: mess. That’s partly down to the number of wires that are inevitably dangling around the desk, including one to power the monitor, one to connect the computer to it, and one to power the laptop, at the very least.
Some monitors have been able to solve that thanks to USB-C ports with power delivery, and some have Thunderbolt support as well. As long as your PC is compatible, one of these monitors will help keep things neat and tidy by connecting your laptop and powering your PC at the same time with the same USB-C cable. Thunderbolt USB-C ports will charge your PC more quickly and they are also able to transfer data at much faster speeds.
3. An adjustable stand
One of the major benefits of having a computer monitor will be felt by your body. It’ll prevent you from hunching over your laptop, in turn safeguarding your neck and your back. You may also want to consider one of the best gaming chairs, as they're ergonomically sound.
If that’s something you’re worried about then you should choose a monitor that gives you lots of control over the screen position. The very best will allow you to tilt or swivel the screen as well as move it up or down so you can find the perfect position for your eye line.
Some will come with a VESA mount too, which means you'll be able to attach the screen to a monitor mount, allowing you to put it up in more places, such as on a wall.
The best monitors to buy in 2023
1. Best for most students: Dell Ultrasharp U2723QE
If you're after a 27-inch monitor that's able to hit the sweet spot between price and quality, the Dell Ultrasharp (U2723QE) will fit the bill.
You'll get crystal clear 4K resolution, a USB-C Hub, an included VESA mount, and the stand allows you to move the screen up and down, plus you can rotate it too.
The only thing you won't get here is the faster Thunderbolt connection – but two of the USB-C ports do provide some power delivery.
In the Dell Ultrasharp (U2723QE) review, we called it a 'do-it-all device' and said it will be a good choice for your home office.
2. Best monitor for gaming: LG 27GP950-B
Gamers will be looking for something a little different in terms of specs, and the LG 27GP950-B 27-inch monitor covers most bases with HDMI 2.1, a 144Hz refresh rate, USB-C Thunderbolt connectivity, and 4K resolution.
In the LG 27GP950-B review, we described how 'in just about every area that matters, this LG scores very highly', going on to say that 'it's superb for games and movies and very good at everything else'. The only thing that really lets it down is the fact that you can't rotate the screen.
3. Best affordable monitor: AOC U27P2CA
In the AOC U27P2CA review, we explained how this is 'a no-nonsense, affordable 4K monitor that's going to serve you well for just about any office task'. Admittedly, it won't be so good for gaming but you can't have it all at this sort of price.
Alongside the 4K resolution, you'll find plenty of USB ports, including a USB Type-C Gen 3.2 with power delivery, simple on-screen menus and small, sleek bezels as well as height and tilt adjustment.